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Meet Emily Douglass, EIC Elect, Ohio State Technology Law Journal

March 26, 2019 | Students

Hometown: Maineville, Ohio

Legal Interests: Copyright law

Education: North Carolina State, Design Studies (Bachelor’s)

What led you to Moritz?

There was a legal theory class called Contemporary Issues of Art and Design [in undergrad], and all my friends were complaining about it, but I found myself thoroughly enjoying it. At the end of the year in that class, you write a huge paper, and I was the only one to include copyright. I found out I really liked advocating for artists, so I spent my senior year doing my capstone project on creator rights and the deficiency in education for creators on what those rights are.

In terms of copyright, what legal rights do designers have? Does it vary by field?

It varies by field, but there is also a lot of overlap. A graphic designer that works in branding will mainly deal with trademarks [TMs] but will also have some copyright protections. A graphic designer in user-interface can possibly apply for utility patents, or may only have copyright protection. An industrial designer may be able to apply for utility or design patents, but also may be able to apply for TM rights. Rights for fashion designers are mainly through TM, although they have also utilized copyright protection. Patents aren’t that useful to them due to time and expense. It really depends on the context and various factors like the work product, the risk assessment — since different protections have different advantages and disadvantages –and resources available to the designers.

Why aren’t many designers aware of these rights, and how does that affect their work?

One of those possibilities is unawareness and the complex nature of these rights. Since designers and creators are not required to have formal [legal] training, they may never be exposed to it. My biggest pet peeve is when someone uses the terms “copyright,” “trademark,” and “patent” interchangeably, but it happens because there is confusion surrounding what those contours are by the average person. There is more retroactive utilization of Intellectual Property rights than proactive, which can be more complicated and expensive. Or, one completely forgos their IP rights if their work is infringed upon due to misunderstanding, leaving them harmed without remedy.

What made you want to come back to Ohio for law school?

When it came down to it, Ohio State’s culture and the ability of Ohio State to reach into other markets and who I met at admitted students’ weekend, everything was reaffirmed that I would fit in at this school. That has been reflective of my experience.

What made you want to become EIC of Ohio State Technology Law Journal?

OSTLJ is the technology-focused journal at Ohio State. My focus in design and emerging technology and how it shapes the environment and people’s interactions was something I had looked at in undergrad. I joined OSTLJ as a staff editor, and I just loved it.

What do you plan on bringing to OSTLJ individually?

We’ve started talking about ways in which we might expand OSTLJ’s reach and establish ourselves as the journal to look at when you’re looking at emerging issues in technology. One of the things we thought of is starting a blog. We are really excited about it. OSTLJ has a really great collaborative and encouraging environment in that we don’t have a note requirement, but it is really encouraged if you do want to write a note.

What is your ideal next step after Moritz?

This summer I am working as a legal intern in Abercrombie and Fitch’s Intellectual Property Department which I am really excited about–to be able to get hands-on experience and look at transactional issues within those creative rights fields. Following graduation, I would really like to see myself stay in the intellectual property market, whether that be at a firm or in-house.

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